/ Food & Drink

British Sandwich Week: what’s your favourite sarnie?

It’s British Sandwich Week! Did you know we buy more than 3.5 billion sandwiches a year? And that doesn’t include the ones we make at home. Let’s settle the question once and for all: what’s the best sandwich?

Choosing your perfect sarnie can be a hassle, which is probably why many of us stick to the same choice once we’ve found our favourite. Decisions can be made harder considering many supermarkets offer meal deals, meaning you can have a sandwich, snack and drink for a set price – sometimes as little as £3.

Buying sandwiches while on-the-go can be convenient, but choices are often limited if you have any dietary requirements. Back in 2011, our very own Patrick Steen wrote a convo about his struggle to buy sandwiches without mayonnaise:

“There are more ‘no mayo’ signs on sandwiches. Some of the no-mayo options tend to have no anything else, such as smoked salmon sandwiches which tend to just have butter or cream cheese – where’s the salad?” – Patrick Steen, sandwich connoisseur.

How much have things changed? It’s hard to tell.

The art of the sandwich

What we do know is that sandwich making can be a serious business. In fact, Subway doesn’t even have sandwich makers in its stores, it has sandwich ‘artists’. There’s even an award ceremony for sandwich companies –The Sammies.

Warburtons recently conducted a survey to discover the nation’s most beloved filling, and the votes soon came rolling in. Topping the rankings was the classic cheese sarnie, with cheese and ham coming in second – my personal choice.

Bizarre butties

British people have got themselves a reputation online for making unusual flavoured sarnies – some Americans were amazed to hear that chip butties existed!

If you do have a soft-spot for an unusual sandwich filling, it can be hard to take any criticism. One of my favourite sandwiches to have is crayfish and lemon mayonnaise (sorry, Patrick) on white bread, and it’s amazing! But I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would disagree.

With so many options, what’s your favourite sarnie? Do you prefer to buy or make your own? Are you may-no, or yay-o?

What's your favourite sandwich filling?

Other (22%, 129 Votes)

Bacon/Sausage (21%, 128 Votes)

Egg and cress (18%, 106 Votes)

Cheese and ham (12%, 74 Votes)

Salmon (12%, 69 Votes)

Cheese (11%, 65 Votes)

Falafel (3%, 18 Votes)

Jam (1%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 596

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Cheese and ham (no mayo!) on brown bread for me. A reliable classic. WH Smith is my preference for a meal deal – always found their sandwiches to be more substantial than others.

If I had to pick from a major shop, M&S’s ‘New York Deli Pastrami’ is an easy winner for me – anything with pickles or sauerkraut (ideally both) gets a thumbs-up.

That said, I’m partial to a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich/bagel, and an Italian panino with salume and fresh mozzarella and basil leaves would be my ideal pick from an independent shop, or to make at home.

On the crucial question – I’m quite happy to have mayonnaise on my bread!

I often just make simple cheese + ham sandwiches with a little pickle and accompanied by a side salad, simply because without mayonnaise other ingredients might fall out. I presume that the purpose of mayonnaise in commercial sandwiches is to help prevent the filling falling out. I make sandwiches with home-made wholemeal bread, often containing lots of seeds. It takes so little effort to make a sandwich I wonder why so many people buy them.

No mayonnaise for me thank you.

Most people presumably buy them for lunch when they are working. Smoked salmon with cream cheese and just a touch of lime or lemon is one favourite, as is egg mayonaise with a little chive.

A big issue for me is the bread – brown and thin, preferably no crust, otherwise thick pappy white bread dominates.

Sandwiches are a nightmare if you don’t like butter! Shop-bought sandwiches are a no-go for me. Wraps are usually a safer option, but still I once bought a wrap from Tesco that turned out to be buttered… As for my favourite sandwich, you can’t beat a roast chicken club from Greggs. Yes it has plenty of mayo, but there’s no butter!

M&S used to make these lovely sandwiches, say around 30 years ago, with dates, grapes and cream cheese. I don’t why they stopped, they did seem to sell OK.

A *good* cucumber sandwich is difficult to beat, especially in the warm weather such as we’re having now (what a nice change, eh?).

I used to have this fairly often in baguette bread: chutney, bacon, brie and lettuce, yum.

Once in Paris I had the best merguez sandwich ever, in a delicious baguette, yum, from an unassuming cafe near the Gare du Nord.

Another time in Paris (Jardin des Plantes) it was tuna with salad, ie sweet corn, tomatoes and lettuce with a great dressing on delicious baguette again, yum, yum.

Sophie, I’m with you on cucumber, Preferably straight from the greenhouse in thin bread (no crusts!). But they need to be freshly made, like tomato sandwiches (another favourite with just a touch of salt) otherwise they go soggy..

I’ll have my cucumber separately, so that I don’t have to pick the slices off the floor. Slices of tomato in sandwiches can fall out or just make the bread soggy, so I go for small tomatoes in the side salad.

Also with you on cucumber – has to be made with plenty of very good quality salted butter and on decent bread. I like the cucumber peel-on and fairly thickly sliced – crucially the sandwiches must be freshly cut so it doesn’t go soggy.

Can’t say I’m with you on the dates and grapes, however – I’m not a fan of mixing sweet fruits with savoury flavours, unless there’s pickling involved!

Cheddar cheese and raspberry jam is a good combination.

I use utility-room (2 windows, plenty of sunlight and warmth in the summer) grown cucumbers, not peeled but I salt the slices and let them “cry” in a colander for half-an-hour. I then pat them dry. It’s got to be butter on the bread for me, not marge, and yes, Malcolm, freshly made, thin white bread, though I don’t mind the crusts. 🙂

Controversial opinion: egg mayonnaise is actually really good (if you make it at home yourself, with the filling still being a little warm). Egg mayonnaise bought in shops is usually pretty terrible though.

Not controversial with me; I totally agree. Just slightly soft yolks. I was brought up on salad cream, not mayonnaise, so use this instead. Sorry about my upbringing.

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You must love Louisiana po’ boys, then, Duncan, or Vietnamese or French sandwiches, and they are made using baguettes, ususally half of one. No messing about with dainty bread and mini-portions there.

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I’ve never seen the point of a chip butty. Apparently it was involved in a chant/song by Sheffield United supporters glorifying life there. But in all the years I lived in that city I never saw a chip butty. Missed out.

However, duncan, mentioning Harry Ramsdens rip reminds me we are on holiday next month and will visit Babbacombe, with lunch at H*nb*rys (no advertising) reputed to be the best F&Cs in the south west. Well, that’s as maybe but they haven’t let us down in the past. With just a little bread and butter and a big pot of decent tea.

Seems strange to put chips in a sandwich. I thought a butty was some sort of cargo vessel.

My all-time favourite sandwich is Marmite on thin white bread with crusts cut off; occasionally I will include thin slices of fresh cucumber. Rennies for afters.


Other brands of indigestion tablets are also available.

We’re also talking butties, right? Sometimes a bacon buttie really hits the spot! It’s got to be just right, though, so for me it’s a good Scottish morning roll, brown sauce, at lease two slices of thick, well cooked bacon. That and a nice mug of tea to wash it down with!

Just been watching a programme on the InterCity 125, and BR sandwiches. BR at the time claimed their most popular sandwich was so because it was made with Britain’s most popular ingredients: Mother’s Pride bread, Anchor butter and a Kraft cheese slice.

My gripe with sandwiches is they involve far too much bread. The bread should be tasty and thin with an emphasis on a decent filling. I prefer an open sandwich (the Scandinavians were/are good at this) or a nice brown roll ploughmans, or roast beef salad. When I worked I often nipped out to Tescos for a lunch of chicken leg, decent pork pie, apple nuts and cheese but never bought sandwiches.

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I agree, Duncan. I was surprised to see a recommendation for WHSmith’s sandwiches [which I have never tried] as I would not have expected great quality there either.

Retailers will continue to degrade the product to the lowest level that the consumer will accept at the given price point. That has always been the American way and is embedded here as well.

I rarely buy a sandwich in a shop but did get some excellent crab sandwiches in a small cafe in Cromer a few weeks ago. Perfection and not too pricey.

I cannot understand in [allegedly] a period of austerity how so much money is available to buy third-rate snacks which are so cheap and easy to make yourself to a higher standard. Does no-one take a lunch-tin to work any more? I used to.

We have moved on from lunch tins to plastic boxes now John. I put a side salad in with my homemade sandwiches. It’s amazing how much is spent on sandwiches and coffee and the packaging contributes to waste.

Maybe there should be training on how to save money and waste. It could be run as a sandwich course.

Oxo tins were popular for sandwiches, John.

My favurite Sandwiches are 1/ Crisp 2/ Chip 3/ Banana 4/ Sugar